Hip Replacement Question Don't trust my doctor

I have read the excellent advice and diverse experiences on the existing hip replacement threads. I’m having a frustrating (angering) experience with my surgeon. I’m 64 and had a left total hip by the anterior approach on Dec 1. Before I committed with the surgeon I did research on these forums and other places and learned that some, but my no means all, women around my age are returning to riding after 4 weeks post-op. I mentioned this to the doc and said, “can I ride after four weeks?” his answer, “yes.” The day of my surgery, pre-op, I said, " four weeks and I’m back on the horse, right?" Mr surgeon says, “six.” I asked my PT about it and she asked me to check with the doc. Today, I saw the surgeon again and I said, "before the surgery I asked you about riding after four weeks and you said yes, Then the day of surgery you changed it to six. January 2 will be a bit over four weeks, I want to ride then. Without taking radiographs or reading the PT reports, he says, “February.” When I called him on it, he said, “just do what you want then.”

I hate being lied to. I hate being misled.

It is wise and good to trust your doctor but I certainly don’t trust mine.

Anyone here post anterior hip and not trusting their doc?

More info: I went home the same day on a cane. Saw the visiting nurse and home PT day 2. Did home PT day 3 and discharged myself to out patient PT. Was driving day 4 and got rid of my cane day 6.

Not hip replacement story, but repairing a retinal tear, he told me two weeks before I could ride, but I had a dressage ladies retreat in a week, I tried pushing for that and got “well do what you like then” I didn’t ride at the retreat, just sat and watched and drank a lot of beer!

The thing I learned after my knee replacement, everyone’s journey is personal, it’s not a race or a contest. Took me a bit longer than most, but got a great result.

I get your frustration with the changing goal posts, but be kind to your body and your surgeon, and make haste slowly.


I can understand your frustration with your doctor. However, at this point, I would follow whatever advice he/she gave you --and never use him/her again! I had my hip replaced and both knees and a shoulder --not at the same time. I always stayed off horse as long as dr recommended, then started back slowly. However, at the end of the day it is your body, your choice. I think I would have asked the dr, “If I do choose to ride sooner than you recommend, what might be the consequences?” --I would not want to be sitting in a saddle with a dislocated hip --which I believe is the biggest concern early on. If your doctor has changed his/her mind, it may well be because of what he or she saw/did during your surgery. You do understand, of course, that your two biggest bones were compromised —cut, hammered, and jammed with new material. To me, there is no downside to returning to riding later than the dr said, rather than risk injury. You are aware, I assume, that hip replacement is not always possible a second time on the same site. You career with horses would end, I should think, if you lose a hip.


FWIW, everybody I know was 8 - 12. It takes 12 weeks for the implant to fuse to the bone.

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I’m not a doctor, but I would not advise rushing back to riding or any other sport. My Dad ended up having multiple surgeries because his hip kept dislocating after a routine replacement with a very respected and experienced surgeon. We think the first dislocation was my Dad’s own fault because he overdid it too soon. Once it dislocated the first time, the tissue around it got weaker and weaker and it kept dislocating. After the multiple surgeries and going under anesthesia so many times within a short time period, he had a quick mental decline and only lasted another year or so.

Also, once the hip dislocated twice, the original surgeon would not operate again, and it was very difficult to find another surgeon to try it again.

I think since it is so common to have joint replacements, and we see so many people with good results; nobody realizes that things can go horribly wrong.

After seeing my Dad’s experience, I have already decided that it I ever get a replacement joint, I will quit riding and skiing. Of course, I will try to avoid having a replacement surgery at all costs, so I don’t have to quit my sports!


Totally agree!! Comparing your return to activity to anyone else’s is a self defeating exercise. I’ve had two posterior THR and am now finally completely confident about riding again. I had despaired of ever riding without fear after my first THR in 2016 for a lot of reasons - lingering pain and instability primarily and the terror of falling and shattering my hip from my 17h silly boy’s playful bucks was overwhelming. Reading about others on this forum riding and even competing again after just a few weeks was terribly discouraging. I felt like a complete failure. At 63 (today!) and now 6 months post op from my second THR my recovery has been entirely different from my first op ; I’m trail riding regularly and no longer afraid of falling. Give yourself time to really knit back together - IME well worth the wait.


I would be curious to know why he changed his mind - is it that you are healing more slowly than some? When had my knee surgery I asked a kind of open ended question - what is the recovery time. The doc said “A year”. And I about fell off the the table. Then we had a discussion about why it takes so long and what happens between surgery and 1 year from surgery. Turns out there were specific times during the healing process where things were very vulnerable and vulnerable to certain movements. And that it wasn’t that I couldn’t do anything for a year but it would be a full year before things felt normal. He did a lot of sports injuries but didn’t know much about riding so he was clear about things I should NOT do - twisting was a biggie - so I knew that getting on/off was going to be a problem. We joked that I wasn’t going anywhere near my tall boots without zippers. And I had to know that if I did fall, it would be bad.

He reminded me a few times - tissues can only heal so fast. And this is what happens if you push them before they are ready.

I am sorry your docs weren’t more forthcoming for you. I realize I had an exceptional one.


I agree with above…do what he says then don’t use him again.

I had a SuperPath TH in 2014. I was riding in 4 1/2 weeks. I think I did walk only for at least 2 weeks then started upping my saddle time and gaits. I chose my surgeon because he is married to a GP dressage rider. I knew he would know about riding and would be upfront on return to the saddle. Isn’t that a good reason for picking a particular surgeon? This particular approach doesn’t cut any muscles therefore the chance of dislocation is much less and doesn’t need the expensive specialized table needed for anterior approach.


Hi! I had anterior THR for both hips, one in 2016 and one in 2019 and am now in my mid-60s. My surgeon’s recommendation was to get back in the saddle whenever I felt ready. With the 2016 replacement, I was back in the saddle after 5 weeks. With the 2019 surgery, I did not feel ready until about 12 weeks after surgery. In both cases, I was up and walking 2 hours after surgery with a walker and discharged the next day. I ditched the walker after 2 days and walked unaided. I started external PT the day after I was discharged with a place that rehabbed people returning to sports (3 days a week plus a series of exercises to do at home on days that I was not at the facility). I did 6 weeks of external PT with the first replacement and 8 weeks with the second. I still do a series of exercises daily to keep my hip flexors stretched and supple. I also do a mini-routine of stretches before getting into the saddle and, if I still feel tight, a few exercises in the saddle.

The schedule for followup appointments with my surgeon: 2 weeks after surgery, 1 year after surgery and 5 years after surgery.

Everyone has different comfort levels and healing times. Every surgeon has their own ideas about returning to sports after THR but it is your decision whether or not to follow the recommendation. Have you tried sitting in a saddle on a saddle stand? My PT had me bring my saddle in and do this before attempting on my broad backed horses!

I am late to this thread. @kickin_on1 what did you end up doing?